Semesterapparate: Hinweise zum Urheberrecht Semesterapparate: Information about copyright law

Reserve Collections and Copyright law

No legal advice about copyright law is given here. The university library would, however, like to draw attention to a few important basic legal conditions which you, as a lecturer, should be familiar with when offering a reserve collection. You will find general information on copyright law on our pages about copyright and on the Remus webpapges.

§ 52a: Public accessibility for tuition and research

The allocation of texts in an online reserve collection also falls under §52a "Öffentliche Zugänglichmachung für Unterricht und Forschung" (public accessibility for tuition and research) of current German copyright law. There, in paragragh 1, it specifies:

  • "small parts of a work", i.e. several pages of a book. The university library is not allowed, therefore, to digitalize major parts of a book unless other agreements with the rights holder exist or the work is no longer protected by copyright.
  • "individual articles from newspapers or periodicals", i.e. an essay from a professional journal.
  • the purpose "of demonstration in teaching at ... universities ... exclusively for a clearly defined group of participating students". Online reserve collections are hence generally protected by a password so that only the students from your course have access to the texts.
  • "Appropriate remuneration is to be paid for public accessibility as per paragraph 1." This remuneration is paid by the university library, the accessibility of such texts in the reserve collection being free for you as a lecturer.

The library associations, the Working Committee of Scientific Publishers and the "Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels" (= Consortium of German Booktrade) have, furthermore, defined the practical interpretation of these arrangements in a "Gemeinsame Charta zum Verständnis von §52a" (common charter on understanding of §52a).